Thursday, November 20, 2014
FILM REVIEW OF ''DUMB AND DUMBER TO" (2014)
Twenty years have elapsed since Bobby & Peter Farrelly made their cinematic debut as co-directors on “Dumb and Dumber” (1994) with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. Although it wasn’t nearly as side-splitting as subsequent Farrelly fare, such as “Kingpin,” “There’s Something About Mary,” and “Me, Myself & Irene,” “Dumb and Dumber” acquainted audiences with the Farrellys’ politically-incorrect brand of lowest common denominator humor. Not surprisingly, the “Dumb and Dumber” slapstick sequel “Dumb and Dumber To” (***1/2 OUT OF ****) constitutes nothing short of an assault on good taste. The Farrellys conjured up a catalogue of rude, crude, and lewd jokes that made “Dumb and Dumber” a riotous outing as well as a smash box office hit, and the lunatic sequel serves up even more audacious antics. If you abhor raunchy humor, you should avoid at all costs this anthology of gross-out gags, some so lowbrow that discretion discourages me from describing them in depth. Reprising their roles as Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne, Carrey and Daniels wallow in a rib-tickling variety of pranks, concerning grotesque bodily functions, bared buttocks, and flatulence galore. Although the overall narrative concept isn’t as fresh as the original “Dumb and Dumber,” the farce is still clearly with Lloyd and Harry, and this impertinent comedy tops the original. If you thought Lloyd and Harry were morons in “Dumb and Dumber,” they are twice as obtuse in this sequel. Not only does “Dumber and Dumber To” imitate its predecessor’s jokes and pratfalls, but it also delivers even more material to laugh and/or cringe at than the original. One of my favorites is the peanut funnel gag. In my day, somebody persuaded you to stick a funnel in your britches, place a quarter on your forehead, and then drop George Washington into the funnel three times to demonstrate your genius. As you prepared for the third attempt, somebody would empty an icy Slush Puppy into the funnel and drench your drawers.
Most sequels provide less-than-inspired links to their predecessors. Indeed, everybody knows Hollywood makes sequels primarily for the loot. Reportedly, Jim Carrey found himself between places on the road when he caught the original “Dumb and Dumber” again on television. So enamored was Carrey with the memory of the first film that he convinced Bobby and Peter Farrelly and Jeff Daniels to reunite for the belated sequel. The link between the two movies is so absurd that you cannot help but burst your bladder laughing. Essentially, “Dumb and Dumber To” adopts the same road trip narrative. This time around our harebrained heroes aren’t involved in a kidnapping. Instead, Harry has been taking care of poor Lloyd who has been a patient in the Baldy View Mental Hospital for the past twenty years. Lloyd succumbed to depression because he couldn’t win over the girl of his dreams, Mary Swanson, in the original “Dumb and Dumber.” As it turns out, Lloyd faked his own depression, and Harry has been diligently changing Lloyd’s shorts and cleaning his buttocks for two decades. Indeed, Lloyd has made Harry the butt of his own joke. Lloyd stops faking his mental illness one day after Harry informs him that he must undergo a kidney transplant. Incredibly, when Lloyd comes clean, Harry isn’t insulted by Lloyd’s deception. Later, Harry learns that he may have been a father when he dated an old girlfriend, Fraida Felcher (a plump Kathleen Turner of “Serial Mom”), back in his high school days. Fraida hands them a letter with her daughter’s address. She put Penny (Rachel Melvin of “Zombeavers”), up for adoption years ago. Fraida loans them a hearse to search for Penny, and these knuckleheads read the wrong address and wind up back where they started from at Frieda’s house. Eventually, they manage to find Penny, who has been raised by a brilliant scientist, Dr. Barnard Pinchelow (Stephen Tom of “Android Cop”), and his late wife. Dr. Pinchelow’s first wife has since died, and he has remarried. Pinchelow’s second wife, Adele (Laurie Holden of “The Walking Dead”), plans to steal a package worth billions that he has entrusted to Penny to take to a science convention in El Paso, Texas, where she will deliver a speech about her father’s legacy. Meanwhile, Adele is trying secretly to poison Pinchelow, with the help of Travis (Robert Riggle of “21 Jump Street”) their sinister grounds-keeper. Penny, who is just as incompetent as our heroes, not only forgets her father’s package but also her cell phone. Adele sends Lloyd and Harry after Penny to give her the mysterious package with Travis accompanying them. As you can see, “Dumb and Dumber To” packs a lot of plot for a sophomoric comedy, and you have to connect quite a few dots in its complicated timeline.
The crowning glory of “Dumb and Dumber To” is the pathetic idiocy of its protagonists. The elastic-faced Carrey and the equally befuddled Daniels get away with a lot in this PG-13 epic. Like the original “Dumb and Dumber,” Carrey and Daniels perform the same silly shenanigans without one upstaging the other. Basically, they qualify as ‘The Two Stooges.’ Carrey still wears his coiffure clipped like Moe Howard of the original “Three Stooges,” as if a barber had put a bowl on his noggin and trimmed his locks around the edge. Meanwhile, Daniels ruffles his hair and makes funny faces like Larry Fine, another “Three Stooges” alumnus. Not surprisingly, the Farrellys are lifelong “Three Stooges” fans, but their last film, a cinematic homage to “The Three Stooges,” didn’t live up to the insanity of the originals. Nevertheless, “Dumb and Dumber To” ranks as their funniest farce since "The Heartbreak Kid” (2007) with Ben Stiller. Their hopeless buffoonery will prompt you want to take another look at the original. Don’t waste your time on the atrocious prequel “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd.” Despite its pervasive toilet humor, “Dumb and Dumber To” will make connoisseurs of crappy comedy flush with joy at its irreverent antics.